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This Cold War-era cartoon uses humor to tout the dangers of Communism and the benefits of capitalism.
This movie is part of the collection: Prelinger Archives
Producer: Sutherland (John) Productions
Sponsor: Harding College (Searcy, Arkansas)
Audio/Visual: Sd, C
Keywords: Cold War; Animation: Advertising; Capitalism
Creative Commons license: Public Domain
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Subject: The Best John Sutherland Capitalism Cartoon
If you have any interest in free market capitalism, socialism, communism, American culture, propaganda, animation, etc. then you simply have to watch all of John Sutherland's cartoons. I think Make Mine Freedom is the best one that he made. Maybe it's just because of the grifter (ism salesman), but this one really talks about what made the US a special place. The freedom to succeed and the possibility of failure. It explains how and why the US was able to increase the standard of living and how personal and economic freedom are inseparable. Watch all the Sutherland cartoons, but if you're only going to watch one, make it this one.
Icorps 1970 -
Subject: Drinking the Kool Aid
Its pretty obvious that a great many posters here have slugged down the "ism".
Some one says we should read history OK lets step back in time...
If Freedom is so bad why did the Boat People flee the communist take over of Viet Nam? Many did not make it. We will never know how many thousands died. Why did so many die trying to escape from behind the Iron Curtain?
If communism is so wonderful why did "Peoples Republics" murder in one way or another over 100 million of their own citizens in the 20th Century.
If capitalism does not work were did the 300000 aircraft come from that the US made in WW-II?? How did the Pacific Fleet rise from the wreckage of Pearl Harbor to be larger than any 2 other NAVYS on the planet in less than 4 years? Why were there so many aircraft from CAPITALIST (free) countries being flown by Russian's on WW-IIs eastern front? (30% of the Soviet Air Force was British and American Aircraft this from a surviving German fighter pilot Gunter Rahls)
Finally where would the world be today if American manufacturing had been scattered about the world (in many cases to our sworn enemies) in 1938 as it is today?
Socialism/Communism does not work. Look at a night time satellite image of the Korean Peninsula for confirmation. Does anyone wonder why North Korea is so dark?
Communism was first tried in America by the PILGRIMS. This was why they damned near starved. The Natives did not save them CAPITALISM DID. LOOK IT UP. The people that could work and produce were forced to feed the people that would not/could not and they basically quit working too. Putting fish in the garden for fertilizer was common in Europe BTW. But we are not told of the fundamental change that ultimately saved them. Now we are changing back to what they had to abandon to survive. WAKE UP!
We have be propagandized for DECADES by school teachers, the "news media", film makers and any place else the Marxist/Leninist/Communist types could insinuate themselves to do what Khrushchev told us would happen. But the USSR has not subjugated us we have done it to ourselves by not paying attention. By voting in people whose prime interest was to make us all wards of the state.
The greatest damage came with FDR being able to appoint leftist leaning Supreme Court justices THE WHOLE COURT eventually. They gutted the Constitution in the late 1930s early 40s and we have never recovered. THIS is where the Nanny state and Federal Control of every facet of your life comes from. Read Madison's take on the Constitution or any of the others that worked it all out. If it does not say the Gov't can do it them the Gov't CANNOT DO IT. But NOW we are told that if its not specifically banned the Gov't can do it. This is 180 degrees from the intent of the people who wrote the original document. LOOK IT UP.
Even worse we are increasingly becoming wards of the UN via treaties. Look carefully at the UNs statement of human rights. You have all sorts of rights under the UN. Unless your rights interfere with something the gov't (UN) wants to do.
How about FDRs ongoing state of emergency that gives the Gov't wide spread powers and basically makes the Constitution a dish rag? Does anyone here know of this unrepealed power grab by the Executive branch? They did not tell you about it in Civics class? LOOK IT UP. There are hundreds of pages of primary source documents on the Constitution. The Federalist papers and the Anti-Federalist writings. Its ALL out there. But what is put down here, prior to ratification, is "inconvenient" to a great many who work for "change".
If the SCOUS gives a green light to Obamacare guess who will come around to make sure you get properly signed up. The IRS.
I hope the Kool Aid flavored "ism" tasted good, cause its sure not good for you.
BTW history has shown that McCarthy was right...
But the leftists and dupes in the "news media" didn't like him so now the threat of Communism expounded by McCarthy is called a "witch hunt". Except in this case the "witch" was far too real.
Subject: Great cartoon.
I miss the good old days, when some propaganda actually told the truth. This cartoon should be required viewing. If people had heeded the advice given in this cartoon, we wouldn't be in such a mess now.
Subject: To FreedomBrigade
It's "Democratic Congress", not Democrat Congress.
Subject: Its not about you or me its about we (past, present, and future)
Capitalism is fantastic most of the time. Capitalism allows for other fantastic philosophies like Socialism to dictate a universally vested code of business ethics when such a situation is in the best interest of the larger community. These mutually beneficial interests include institutions such as The Public Library, Firefighters, and Social Security. A polarized consumption addicted public is not beneficial to long term prosperity and abundance for all! We can disagree on things, of course, but don't let anyone sell you something which at its core is based on reinforcing (our) differences (Class-ism, Race-ism, Fascism, Democrat-ism, Republic-ism, or any other discounting ideas). We all have to work together to win together! If that doesn't make sense to you, watch "Make mine freedom" again! :)
Subject: Life imitates art..
Anybody who thinks that the Republicans are to blame for today's political mess need only go back as far as Bill Clinton (a Democrat, I might point out). Of course, if you want to get technical about it, you could go back as far as Franklin D. Roosevelt (another Democrat) and his "New Deal" policies. So don't be so quick to assume that it's all the Republicans fault. But aside from all of that, this film does seem to strike a LOT of political nerves by exposing the shameful habit of using the "Divide and conquer" tactics so common in politics all too often today.
Subject: mrfreedombrigade is confused
mr freedombrigade is seriously confused... the Republicans destroyed the economy. Democrats INHERITED this mess AFTER the Republicans ran pell-mell away from the mess they created. (They are known for not liking responsibility while preaching it to everyone else.)
Hugeliberal ... Capitalism/America have NOT failed only the socialist-liberal-communists in the Congress have let the american people and system down. the closer we get to a socialistic nation the more "failure" we see...
Republican Congress = up economy
Democrat Congress = Downward economy...
When mixed we see a slower downward economy...
Put God back in schools.
Put Money into the Peoples pocket.
Put power back to the States.
Then America will see the Liberty and freedom we have enjoyed for years...
James in Texas -
Subject: It's about FREEDOM, not Capitalism!!
From many of the comments it seems this old cartoon really scares those who want to destroy our freedoms. Why are there so many who are trying to distract from the real issue of 'Freedom vs. any -ISM' by trying to make it about 'Capitalism vs. Socialism or Communism? The bottle only has "ISM". And notice the snake-oil salesman has a different bottle for each group. Doesn't this remind you of politicians who say something different depending on who they are talking to? The left & right have both been stealing our freedoms for years and it's time to get back to the Constitution. I think this old cartoon, which was over-the-top propaganda at the time, is very relevant today.
Subject: Make mine CORPORATE POWER
"Make Mine Freedom" is a crude effort to convince us that Big Business is the source of all of the bounties of innovation, bounty of the soil, and personal freedom. One could just as easily cast the snake-oil salesman (a stock villain) into a promoter of "PLUTOCRACY" and have an argument for communism -- that plutocrats offer debt that bonds workers to employment as plutocrats offer and farmers to impossible goals of production because they are deeply in debt, while tycoons profiteer and executives get paid lavishly for treating workers badly.
Corporate America gets credit for everything good in American life, but the cartoon glosses over that such prosperity as Americans had in 1948 depended upon despotic management, resource depletion, and cozy relations between government and business. No mention is made of the severe inequality implicit in Jim Crow practices. Sixty years later, when American capitalism has approached dystopian reality, "Make Mine Freedom" would be a ludicrous conception because workers -- blue-collar and white-collar alike, and struggling farmers and small business owners, have become veritable thralls of plutocrats and tycoons who see any people other than themselves and their loved ones expendable, and the resources of the Earth merely objects to process for quick profits.
Subject: then versus now
America was different when it faced a real threat from the USSR. To me it was the 'good guy,' and Stalin's crimes spoke for themselves. But America has changed since the Cold War ended. With Communism gone, America, it seems, has had to invent enemies out of nothing, in order to sustain the warlike footing that -unfortunately- propels its economy. A soviet propagandist would today find countless living illustrations to support their rebuttal of this animation.
I. P. Rainwater -
Subject: Make Mine Freedom (1948)
How well off is Russia and Cuba's economy as of late. There doing worse off. There not immune from a recession either. In fast as I recall the Soviet Union ( Communism ) about went belly up till the USA pumped trillion's in to there economy. This one world economy is not going to work folks time to get back to the basics. Father works Wife is home with Jr and his 3 three sisters ( god help me when they turn teens ). Old fashion you say. Wife loves it, kids love it and it WORKS. ( no ulcers either). Under commie ISM I wouldn't have the choice to do this. SHUT UP AND DO AS YOUR TOLD.
No house on the hill in the country and big yard. AAAHHH Piss on your socialism guvmnt run everything. Hi I'm from the government ,,I'm here to help. Stay out of MY life and get one yourself PAWN
Where NIXON when you need him dammit!! LOL
Just venting, liked the film very entertaining.
Ron Raygun -
Subject: Evil Empire Vs. Freedom Empire
It looks like some of the comments on this forum think the grass is greener in Cuba, Venezuela, China, or South Africa. This is typical of lazy, stupid people who take their freedoms for granted. The US Guvmint has been sliding toward fascism as well as socialism since about 1960 very slowly. This incrementalism has speeded up the shift since the House on Un-American affairs was done away with. The TV Series, "I Led 3 Lives" has been banned, the 10 Commandments have been banned in courtrooms, McCarthy has been portrayed as a fanatic, and President Reagan has passed away. It's all about FREEDOM folks, and the last few administrations are deaf, dumb, and blind as to this word. For all of you Communist foot soldiers out there, I hope you fall on your swords!
Subject: Did anyone else notice...
Did you notice that this cartoon was made by the Famous Studios animation unit which Paramount acquired from Max Fleischer and which produced the Popeye, Casper and Harveytoons cartoons?
The voice artist for the seller of ISM is Frank Nelson, who worked in cartoons, radio and television and did voiceovers for TV commercials.
Propaganda notwithstanding, this is an excellent example of late 40's Hollywood animation.
Subject: capitalism is not the perfect solution to all our needs
So what if communism doesn't work? So what if communism does not suit the needs of everyone? Does that mean that capitalism should be the solution for our society's needs?
No, no and no!
Now that we are capitalists, do we think that our world is the world we want to live? Unfortunately, no. Because capitalism becomes successful, we have destroyed and exploited billions of lives worldwide. We became more selfish and superficial and our world is becoming more and more corrupt. We don't care very much about ourselves more than we shouldn't be. We could consider ourselves well-off, but look on the other side of the world and we realize that we're simply not.
Capitalism is a very evil system. It encourages us to cheat everything, from money to labor to our morals. Instead of distributing freedom to all of us, we take away more of the lower classes' independence not knowingly that we are also controlled by the higher class. That is why that film does not make sense at all. In some parts, it disguises as a friend to everyone. Luckily, the earlier parts shows its greedy side. Hah!
Subject: Not about capitalism versus communism
This short is not about capitalism versus communism, but about various ideologies that encroach on individual freedom, various "isms". For labor and the farmer, there is Communism. For the banker and politician, there is Fascism. Both are about control of an abstract majority over the lives of individuals. Both are Statism. The short is about Capitalism or Individualism versus Statism. Unfortunately, the US chose Statism decades ago, and is now reaping the fruit of its decision.
Subject: Communism is Cheesy
Commies like Shadows_Girl should be shot in the head with a Flintlock Musket, and their bodies should be cooked and served for consumption by the starving people of North Korea.
This "cartoon" is propaganda promoting capitalism over communism. Communism won't work and there is reason to wonder about capitalism given the current state of affairs.
Lies, lies, lies....
Oh, meatpies...as long as one is honest one need not fear the judgement of history. Certainly it's fair to criticize this kind of garbage---lies are lies no matter how old they may be. Of course, patriotism based on the "my country right or wrong" attitude has to rely on lies---truth would shatter it.
Subject: Communism just won't work...
People do not want to work for nothing. We have egos. We want to see something for all our hard work. Plain and simple.
Capitalism has it's flaws, too... but at least we can work hard and see the fruits of our labor. I have a nice, but not NEW car. I love it. I shop at Walmart if I want, and I get my coffee from a mom and pop shop if I want. I have the freedom to do so. I make hand-crafted items for homeless people, because I want to love everyone.
I felt this cartoon was patriotic for it's time. Is it fair to look back and ridicule something over 50 years old? If so, then let's determine what's going to happen 50 years from now and ridicule ourselves for how we're acting, even though we feel it's right for our time now, because it won't be 50 years from now.
Subject: I saw this in grade school
I saw this in elementary school and was underimpressed by the production values. It made little sense then and none now. What about the other "isms", like fascism. Why doesn't that warrant the same criticism as communism.
square eyed boy -
Subject: Disney menality leads Disneyized minds
Films like this have successfully managed to keep a complete myth going about how society operates (or is operated). It had to be a cartoon because there are no real life ways of showing this.
Dwindle is a mouth on a stick, and a sure product of the failed American schools system. A bunch of twaddle about Europe passes for analysis.
Socialism never fails because it's impossible to plan an economy or because it presses upon freedom (that idea claimed by teary-eyed Americans), rather its philosophical core asks too much of essentially simple beings who could never live up to such impossibly high ideals. This said, that impossibility is hijacked by the people with a cess-pool morality and the drones who believe them, to peddle everything up to Friedmanite murderous economics (think Argentina and Pinochet), destroy civil society, and to get away with it.
Well-made cartoon technically; simple-minded blather as the message.
Unlike most cold-war era propaganda, this one film criticizes Communism without going all out McCarthy on everyone.
Although it sometimes seems to make us think that unions are bad and employers should be able to treat their workers however they want.
Subject: comunism would rock!
… but unfortunately there is human nature.
Subject: Make My Freedom or take it
Ok sure, capitalism is seiously flawed but it's not nearly as flawed as communism, I shouldn't really have to say any more if you understand the concept of communism. Just in case you don't, here's what Wikipedia has to say on the subject:
Communism is an ideology that seeks to establish a classless, stateless social organization based on common ownership of the means of production. It is usually considered a branch of the broader socialist movement that draws on the various political and intellectual movements that trace their origins back to the work of Karl Marx.
"The Communists... are on the one hand, practically, the most advanced and resolute section of the working-class parties of every country, that section which pushes forward all others; on the other hand, theoretically, they have over the great mass of the proletariat the advantage of clearly understanding the lines of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement.
The immediate aim of the Communists is the same as that of all other proletarian parties: formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat." - Karl Marx, Communist Manifesto, 1848
Subject: Great cartoon
don't swallow that guy's ism.
Simply reading the reviews and seeing the emotional response is a show of how powerful this piece is.
As for many of you that support socialism or communism I think you misunderstand our societies problems. One of the main problems, just as deadly is corporatism. Small business will never be a threat to society because they are owned by families and are local. But big international business is a huge threat to our welfare.
A state controlled economic system will always fail. Why? Because like physics for every action taken in a market there is an equal reaction. It might take time like the ripples of waves but that is the reaction spreading through the system.
The real problems are the centralized Federal Reserve, globalized Wall Street and subsidies for big business that protects the wealthy from competition or supports foreign cheap labor investment. In many ways America has become a fascist or communist state through maintaining these institutions and redistributing the wealth of America’s labor to foreign nations.
Communism will always fail because they attempt to control the marketplace. Just as our current corporatist society will fail too. If you want communism and it’s sibling socialism to work it will happen only when people want to live in peace with each other and we have evolved into a species that has no need for a barter system. As long as we trade and own property capitalism will live on. We just need to get the super wealthy corporate leadership out of our government and soon.
Interesting also that our own government has become the traveling salesman selling ism for our freedom in the name of security. As I get older it becomes far truer that anyone who attempts to divide us is a conqueror with ulterior motives.
Liberty is the most important asset we have. It should never be sold in the name of economics, security or religion. With liberty we have all of those, but without we lose all of them. That is what the message was and it is totally correct, propaganda or not.
Subject: Capitalism is a total failure.
The US is in a state of collapse. Sure,it has taken awhile,but now with the leader that the right wing and the illuminati have always wanted in place...they are now going ahead with their devious plans of total enslavement,a total police state. Bush and his cronies are in the process of completely eliminating the constitution of the US. I think within the next 20 years if something isnt done...the right wing zealots will draft a new constitution and declare the old one out of touch and we will be a fascist society. We are already on our way. Bush and his cronies are the most vile,evil and destructive men the world has seen since 1930's and the rise of Hitler. In fact,if you pay close attention many of the same phrases are used by both Bush and Hitler. Bush is a reincarnation of Hitler,except it is all the poor that he wants to execute..keeping only enough to serve the rich. It is time to wake up and rise people. Police checkpoints,home invasions without warrants,cameras everywhere,laws already enacted that deny certain people legal representation and if you disagree you will be arrested..like the couple arrested in WV at a Bush rally for wearing John Kerry t-shirts. Free country you say? Not quite. The fact that communism gets a bad rap is because none of the communist countries have really been communist. They use the term communism to get the people to support them,but the leaders have been corrupt. If communism is used in the proper way..it gives power to the workers..the people. The way it should be. Instead,here in Capitalist America(Capitalism is a tool of the rich)3 percent of the population controls 90 percent of the wealth. Great eh? 45 percent of the population doesnt even have healthcare and I could go on and on. We are at a crossroads similar to the sixties only with far greater consequences and we have less time to change this disastrous path that we are on. Please wake up people. Research. Read. Do not believe the news you see on television...do your own research,make up your own mind. Do not listen to teachers,preachers etc. Our history books are one big lie. RISE People before the PIGS have their way.
Lao Li -
Subject: John Doakes III
Now if John Doakes III decided to make an electric car, how far would he get? *
I'm teaching in China (where everything is made now) as they move from CommunISM to CapitalISM. It bothers me how in this transition, many of my students are moving from the comradery of SocialISM to greed of MaterialISM.
* I'm waiting to go to Sydney on R&R, and plan to see the movie "Who Killed the Electric Car?" ... and Star Wars III in English...
Subject: Red Scare Tactics
This is a very well made cartoon for a college to have produced. The voice acting and the animation are very professional. It's equal to anything Warner Brothers did with Looney Toons.
It is humorous to see such blatant propaganda against communism from a modern perspective.
I love how it shows "The State" taking away labor unions when many consider the concept of the labor union to be inherently socialist. Some U.S. right-wingers today would like to get rid of them.
And I love how it points out that the U.S. at the time had so many people graduating from high school when it was The Communist Manifesto from which we got the idea for universal free public education.
And the part where it claims that we have the freedom to work at the job we want is like a Jedi Mind Trick. I know that at least 44% of the U.S. know this is a half-truth at best.
The part where the inventor hits up his uncle and aunt for capital to invest in his business is like those movies where the "ugly" girl just has to take off her glasses and let her hair down and she's suddenly a glamor model.
Capitalism is not a game for the average person. Though it could be if we got over our irrational fear of socialism and used some more of its concepts to augment our system. If it weren't for the socialist concepts we've used thus far, we would not have a middle class.
I think this is a perfect reason as to why Americans continue to embrace capitalism today. It is important to remember we are not a single country, but rather 50 individual states with the right to run each one differently.
We have every right to implement free healthcare, minimum wages, corporate controls, et el. But time and time agan, we reject theose proposals. Massachusetts for example is implementing state wide healthcare for everyobdy, free for the poor. But then again, they tried that 20 years ago and rejected it then, too.
You shouldn't feel bad for Americans, not when we make, on average, $20,000 a year more than the average European, nor should you feel bad for ethnic minorities - hispanics for example are starting their own businesses three times faster than the American average. That mean a Mexican living in America is 5 times more likely to own his own business than a European.
Bush doesn't control America, neither do the corporations. No one in America can do anything without our consent. We could shut down Walmart tomarrow, or make the minimum wage $15 an hour for all we care.
But we see Europeans working for pathetically low wages, paying absurd taxes, being ruled over by the state, hell, most of you don't even have a jury of your peers. The government decides your innocence.
This movie illustrated why Americans have chosen freedom over the false promises of socialism time and time again, and why almost every other nation in the world is following in our footsteps.
Subject: This actually made me quite sad.
A poingant reminder of all that America has lost... and what we all have to lose. Things have gone so far to the Right, this anti-communist cartoon scans like left-wing propaganda itsself, nowadays.
Subject: very strange ... especially today
this cartoon states that the us is one of the finest places to live in. i myself am a european but today i feel pitty towards the americans who have to live in corporate, bush controlled america day in day out.
the patriot act: what would john q public say about that?
"the freedom to work where you want" off course, all those ethnic young people are doing their 2 or 3 lousy paid partime jobs at walmart or mc donalds out of their free will !!? don't think so.
off course, the stalinist system in the ussr from 1924 till 1990 and those other totalitarian freaks like hitler, poll pott and mao weren't the number one alternative for the people, but this movie glorifies capitalism (notice the ISM!) in a perverse way because people today in the us (and also in many countries in europe) are losing their freedoms and their wealth due to capitalism and imperialism.
Subject: Want some ISM?
Very propagandistic cartoon which asks us to thank ourselves for wverything that we have, rather than forcing to swallow any bottle of ISM being thrown our way. Like the travelling salesman concept, and how he was, yes, selling bottles of ISM. The four people who want to buy it get to sample it, and are faced with the consequnces. Very interesting and hardline.
Subject: I just love propaganda! Heh
This is a rather interesting piece I have a large interest in American propaganda and rhetoric, especially from a war time point of view. This film is an excellent example of a twisting words to make your point come shining through. Giving away your freedoms to the almighty "isms" of the world... a very valid point. But it cleverly disguises "capital-ISM" by using other terms to seperate it from the classification. I'll definitely get some use out of this film.